To Be Decided #1

post by Ian David Moss · 2019-10-03T19:30:15.976Z · score: 7 (4 votes) · LW · GW · 2 comments

Contents

  Why Your Hard Work Sits on the Shelf—and What to Do About It
  What I've Been Reading
  Stuff You Should Know About
  That's all for now!
None
2 comments

(Preface: This is the first edition of a quarterly email newsletter I started earlier this year called To Be Decided. I'm posting this as an experiment; if response here is positive, I'll post the two issues that have gone out since then as well as future issues as they come out. Feedback welcome!)

Welcome to the inaugural edition of To Be Decided, a quarterly newsletter about smarter decisions for a better world! TBD is all about deploying knowledge for impact, learning at scale, and making more thoughtful choices for ourselves and our organizations. Each edition will feature short and sweet reviews of important publications you don't want to miss but don't have time to read, along with a brief roundup of major developments in the world of learning and decision-making since last time.

Why Your Hard Work Sits on the Shelf—and What to Do About It

We've all been there. The time when the client seemed to forget the project ever happened as soon as the final check was cut. The time when your report stuffed full of creative recommendations got buried by risk-averse leadership. The time when stakeholders really did seem engaged by the findings, had lots of conversations, and then...nothing changed.

If you suspect these stories are more the rule than the exception, the evidence suggests you're right. And if the trend continues, chances are it's eventually going to catch up to those of us who generate and spread knowledge in the social sector. If we really want our work to be useful, we have to continue supporting decision-makers after the final report is delivered, working hand-in-hand with them to ensure whatever choices they make take into account not only the best information available but also other factors that matter to them, including their values, goals, and perceived obligations. For this reason, knowledge providers who want to see their work have greater impact might find value in partnering with a decision consultant in the form of a "wrap-around" service for knowledge initiatives.

(Keep reading)

What I've Been Reading

Rethinking the Purpose of Measurement
Measurement is not a simple act of observation disconnected from any larger plan. Instead, it’s an optimization strategy for reducing uncertainty about decisions we need to make. That’s the central argument of Douglas Hubbard’s How to Measure Anything: Finding the Value of “Intangibles” in Business, which remains one of the most important books on decision-making I’ve read since first encountering it more than seven years ago. This revolutionary reframing argues that measurement can only have value if it can reduce uncertainty about a decision that mattersIt points toward an ultra-applied approach to evaluation and research that would represent a radical departure from the way these functions operate at most organizations today.
(Full review | Twitter thread)

Funders Learn Mostly from Each Other. Is that Dangerous? "Peer to Peer: At the Heart of Influencing More Effective Philanthropy," commissioned by the Hewlett Foundation with the goal of understanding how foundations access and use knowledge, raises the question of whether there are enough intellectually curious foundation leaders who both keep tabs on new studies and reports as they come out and proactively share that knowledge with their peers. (Twitter thread)

Stuff You Should Know About

That's all for now!

If you enjoyed this edition of TBD, please consider forwarding it to a friend. It's easy to sign up here. See you next time!

2 comments

Comments sorted by top scores.

comment by Pattern · 2019-10-04T05:25:07.844Z · score: 4 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Errata:

(Side note: props to Bipartisan Policy Coalition's Nick Hart for braving Reddit to host a rowdy Ask Me Anything on this topic.)

Is that the right link?


General note: great post, this sounds like it's going to be an amazing newsletter!

comment by Ian David Moss · 2019-10-04T13:11:14.207Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Whoops! It is not. Here's the correct one, and I'll make the change in the post as well. Thanks for the correction and the kind words!